Lansing Neighbors Encourage Police Chief To Live Within City Lim - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Lansing Neighbors Encourage Police Chief To Live Within City Limits

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A group of seven Lansing neighborhood organizations said in an open letter to Mayor Virg Bernero that having a permanent police chief who lives in Lansing would be in the best interest of the city.

"People who live in the city, who are here all the time, have a difference kind of sense of buy-in than somebody who comes in and leaves," says Keith Kris of the Westside Neighborhood Association."

Like his predecessor Teresa Szymanski, Interim Police Chief Mike Yankowski currently does not live within city limits. However, he says living outside of Lansing doesn't make him any less dedicated to his job. "Not only do I work in the city, my wife works in the city; I go to church in the city, says Interim Chief Yankowski. "I've given this city everything that I have.  I've put in countless hours, working with the community hand in hand. And I'm committed. I'm deeply committed to keeping this city safe and making sure this police department is one they can be proud of."

Lansing neighborhood leaders agree that Yankowski has formed meaningful partnerships with the community during his time with LPD. However, they say living in the area you serve still makes a difference. "Tthere's a difference when you have somebody who is ingrained in the community," says Kris. "There's the casual opportunities to see them on the streets or things like that. Or just the opportunity for them to notice things they might not notice in their day-to-day duties just because they're living it."

While residency requirements are illegal, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says he supports the idea of having city employees live within city limits. "I…am a fan of the requirement. I would never have voted to do away with the requirement," he says. "In fact, if there was a movement in the legislature to put it back, I would support it."

However, Bernero says he's confident in the job Yankowski will do, and that living outside of Lansing won't affect his performance. "Do I think it hampers his ability to do the job? Absolutely not. He is committed to Lansing," says Mayor Bernero. "[He] wouldn't be anymore committed if technically he lived in the city."

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter or email at emorrow@wlns.com.

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